In addition to creating a proper estate plan, many Michigan residents also appoint a personal representative. By designating this person, Michigan residents can rest assured that their estates will be properly handled following the person's death.
Personal representatives to a Michigan estate have a variety of important responsibilities. These individuals must take great care to ensure that these responsibilities are carried out in a careful and precise manner. If mistakes are made they can be costly to the estate and the representative can be held liable, in some situations.
One area where particular care should be taken is with tax returns. There are a variety of tax returns that must be filed after a person's death. According to federal and state laws, these include
- personal income tax returns at local, state and federal levels
- business income tax returns at the federal, state and local levels including employment taxes
- gift tax returns
- information tax returns for the federal government
In addition to these returns, Michigan law also requires that estate tax returns be filed for the estate. Federal laws have similar requirements and additional returns must be filed with the federal government. If the personal representative fails to follow these state and federal estate administration laws, the person may be held liable. In some cases, the personal representative may even be responsible for paying for the tax.
Estate administration issues are difficult for people to understand. It is important that people know what they are responsible for when administering an estate. An attorney can help people to understand this important role and ensure that the process goes smoothly.